CMH Gourmand

Eat, Drink, Repeat: Culinary Discovery & Misadventure in Central Ohio

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Archive for the ‘Road Trip’ Category

Market Street Soda Works

Posted by cmh gourmand on September 25, 2016

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When I heard about the opening of Market Street Soda Works in Newark, I was excited to check out what they had to offer. The challenge was finding the time to do it. The business opened in June 2016 in the revitalized (and still under construction and development) downtown Newark. In a world where we walk into a grocery store and find ourselves overwhelmed with options or open a restaurant menu with ten pages it is refreshing to find a place that does just one thing…..carbonated beverages.

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Before I move on, let’s settle one thing. A century old debate is whether Pop is Soda or is Soda Pop? In some parts of the country the use of the “wrong” term can be grounds for ridicule. I go on the record as being a Pop man. Soda Pop when condensed to just one word for efficiency is best served with the term Pop. Pop is pop….no debate about what it is. Whereas Soda can be soda water, a soda fountain, baking soda, etc., etc. Pop sends a clear message and soda sends a mixed message about the subject at hand. That being said, I fully support Market Street Soda Works in both name and mission. Using the KISS principle….Keep It Simple – Soda.

Owner Tim Argyle has a life long love of root beers, red pops, apple beers and the like. Tim has curated an impressive assortment of over 100 sodas from all over the country. In my extensive Pop (soda) research I have not found a better selection anywhere in Ohio. In addition to what is on the selves the Works offers four sodas on draft. These are supplemented by a soda fountain to accent those sodas with ice cream to create tasty floats. All in all the end result is a carbonation conundrum – what to drink and what to take home.

I found more than a few sodas (pops) that I have never been able to locate in the Buckeye State. Seeing everything on display I was thrilled to see old regional soda companies from around the country, many from the 1920’s are still popping around. I was also excited to see some many new “craft” sodas that have popped up in the last few years mirroring the rise of craft beer throughout the country. Pre-Prohibition most communities has a local brewery and a local pop – often times created in the same place. Drink local works just as well with beer as with pop in my book.

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Market Street Soda works is open Tuesdays and Fridays 11 am to 8 pm to align with the Farmers Market schedule. Food trucks set up near the entrance to offer a food option to pair with the pops. If you are anxious to excite your taste buds with new flavors, Market Street Soda Works is well worth the drive to Newark.

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Market Street Soda Works
14 E Market St, Newark, OH 43055
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Website

Posted in beverages, Ohio, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Mrs. Renison’s Donuts, Marysville (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 23, 2016

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On my way back from The Donut Shop (at Indian Lake) I decided to check the hours for Mrs. Rennison’s Donuts in Marysville which was the mid-point for my drive back to Columbus. Checking the map, it is just a few minutes away from 33 so I decided to cram in a second donut run into my morning. The second it came into view I experienced Donut Trail Deja Vu. The place looks a lot like The Family Donut Shoppe (now in my top three donut places in the state) both in building size, design and they have a drive through window and parking lot sets up that are similar.

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Looking at the sign and seeing that the recipe dated back to 1929, I was excited. When I got home I found out that this business dates to 1989 so at first I was less excited, then I found out where the 1929 reference comes from:

Crispie Creme Donuts began in Portsmouth, Ohio, and was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Renison.

It is known by names such as Mrs. Renison Shops, Mrs. Renison’s Doughnuts and Mrs. Renison’s Crispie Creme Donut Shop. Shops have been found in Ohio in Lancaster, Marysville, Wheelersburg and Chillicothe.

It appears that at some point the Renisons sold the business or franchised the name to allow other similarly named businesses to operate. For example, the Marysville shop that opened around 1989 is run by Keith and Cindy Hill, using “Mrs. Renison’s original recipe from Portsmouth

I’ve been to the Crispie Creme in Chillicothe so now I saw the historical connection.

Walking through the door, I was greeted by fast and very friendly service. Feeling a bit bloated already I tried to order just eight donuts but my new friend at the counter pointed out that for a few cents more I could have one dozen. And the price was right $9.50, sold!

This shop offers a wide variety of yeast and cake donuts. The standout to me was the cinnamon. It is a six-sided yeast donut with a bit of a swirl on the inside and a thin glaze of vanilla icing on top with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. The other winner was the last of its batch on the shelf. A dark chocolate cake donut with a thick layer of chocolate icing on top. The level of chocolate was almost overwhelming but not off-putting.

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622 E 5th St, Marysville
937 642-7008

Mrs Renison's Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

The Donut Shop & Bakery, Russells’ Point/Indian Lake (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 21, 2016

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In 2016, I’m wrapping up the southern leg of the Ohio Donut Trail and focusing my eyes on the north. A few readers had suggested The Donut Shop (known as Hinkle’s long, long ago) at Indian Lake. I decided to make my move while it was still summer to get a feel for the vibe of the place. I’ve never been to the area so I budgeted out some time to drive around Russel’s Point to explore the community. I thought this would be a good way to tip my toe into the water of the northern Ohio donut trail.

Reading some online reviews, the only complaint I could find about the Donut Shop was that there is not inside space to the place. Everyone orders from a single window in the shop. The donuts are displayed through the other windows. I could see where this might be a drag in the winter but from my perspective that gives the workers a lot more space for donut production so I support the business as is. There is a large variety of yeast and cake donuts to choose from as well as cookies, cinnamon rolls and other baked goods. The two signature donuts here are both yeast style donuts. The first is the Buckeye which is a mix or peanut butter, chocolate, cream filling and a bit of whipped cream. The flavors on this donut were big and rich. The other signature donut is the maple bacon. The maple glaze had a good flavor to it but the bacon bits were a cursory adjunct at best. My favorite donuts of the dozen I sampled were the vanilla cake and the apple fritter. The fritter had a good shelf life to it, still tasting great two days after I bought it. It also had great apple flavor. It is one of the better apple fritters I have trip along the Ohio Donut Trail. As I was rounding out my order of a dozen I was asking the woman at the window if there were any favorite donuts I missed? Before she could answer her co-worker said – “well there is at least one you can’t have.” (I wondered, what did I do wrong and then I thought, this is a challenge, there must be some type of donut they think I won’t eat). As it turned out I was just here at the wrong time. The most popular donut in the shop is pumpkin which is a fall only seasonal flavor. A close second is an apple crisp donut which rolls out at the same time.

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The kicker for the Donut Shop is everything else it has to offer. They offer ice creams and sandwiches during the weekends. I was impressed to see they serve Homemade Brand Ice Cream (from UDF the best “macro” ice cream maker in the state). While the shop closes at noon during the week, they stay open as late as 9 pm on warm weather weekends. They also have two good deals: Box lunches for $5 and day old donuts (not many to choose from) for 25 cents each ($3 for a dozen). Another perk is a great view of the lake.

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Also noted as I looked at the windows I saw this sign, which I had seen at another place before. I took a liking to the concept of a Donut Party – both politically and socially. I have hosted donut parties in the past. But politically, the concept of a donut party appeals to me during this election year I could best describe as insane.

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The Donut Shop and Bakery
104 Main St E, Russells Point
937 842-1969

The Donut Shop on the Lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Mama Renie’s Pizza: McArthur Ohio

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 29, 2016

(An installment in the Route 56 Trilogy and the Grumpy Old Man Saga)

Our tale of Mama Renie’s involves several sidetrips both literally and figuratively so let us begin our journey. The path to Mama Renie’s was a long and winding trail. it began when I became aware of Family Donut Shoppe in Londonderry which started my exploration of Route 56. For this trip to McArthur I sought out a co-pilot in the Grumpy Old Man. Readers may be familiar with the Grumpy Old Man from another installment in the Route 56 Trilogy – Carl’s Townhouse. One the first exploration of Route 56, I talked the Grumpy Old Man into going to Family Donut shop the first time by promising a trip to O’Betty’s in Athens after. At the mid-point of our first Route 56 adventure we passed through Mcarthur and the place below caught my eye. My eatery sixth sense kicked in and knew I had to head back some day (soon).

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(Take a look at the sign in the photo). A sign on a pizza place which says Breakfast 6 am is the sign of a full service establishment that warrants investigation. Looking at the brick work (glazed enamel which was high-end in the 1920’s) of this building I could tell this place has a lot of history which meant – the potential for a lot of character.

So once again, I talked the Grumpy Old Man into joining me on another Route 56 adventure. This time we would go to Carl’s Townhouse and since Family Donut Shop was only 15 miles away we would head back there and then proceed to McArthur for a very detailed scouting mission.

Now long time readers of this blog are thinking “why would the Grumpy Old Man need to be talked into what sounds like a great day trip?” Well, the back story is complicated but I’ll provide some bullet points. I’ve known the Grumpy Old Man for almost thirty years and along the way we have had many good adventures: camping trips, a trip to Baltimore where I slept under a pool table and wore reindeer pants, a 4 day trip to Puerto Rico that nearly led to my death by pork and rum overdose and at least six trips to Lake Hope. The Lake Hope adventures are the ones that lead to the trepidation the Grumpy Old Man has when I make a trip pitch to him. Lake Hope Adventures typically involve the following: five to seven meals per day in Athens (sometimes going to the same place two to three times in a day), a long hike where we are sometimes unclear if we will finish…or survive, a hangover, often extended bursts of intestinal gas and on our last two trips drinking one bottle of Yering Station Fortified Shiraz which is the finest and one of the most potent wines in the world. And unfortunately for me can only be found at the Yering Station winery in the Yarra Valley and my supply is now depleted which is fortunate for the Grumpy old man. While the Grumpy Old Man enjoys a trip to Lake Hope he has found the rigors of my itineraries wear him out and age him about 1 year in 3 to 4 days. A shared bottle of fortified Shiraz seems to age him about 3 years. My additional selling point for our McArthur scouting run is that this little town is only 14.7 miles from the cabin we stay in at Lake Hope. Somehow in all of our trips to Lake Hope and the surrounding area we have never been to McArthur. So if McArthur did indeed have a good place to eat, I would have an alternative to Athens on our adventures and thus he would have some protection from my indulgences at Jackie O’s, Devil’s Kettle, Little Fish, West End Cider House and such. This added to a guaranteed trip to Family Donut Shoppe allowed the Grumpy Old Man to commit to be tripped.

However, after lunch at Carl’s and second lunch at Family Donut Shoppe, the Grumpy Old Man asked if we were going to skip McArthur and just head home. Of course my response was merely a roll of my eyes as we moved on down the road to our destiny (this is why I always drive so that my agenda can’t be trumped).

Upon arrival in McArthur we did a quick drive by of our target sites in town then exited the vehicle to explore McArthur on foot (which took about 10 minutes). We were not sure if Mama Renie’s was open and the Grumpy Old Man was reluctant to enter so I scouted it solo by trying to find an unlocked door. I was a bit disoriented upon entering because the interior is very dark with minimal lighting as well as a very dark, long wood bar and booths. I knew based on the look of the bar alone that Mama Renie’s was worth this trip. I returned outside to fetch the Grumpy Old Man and apparently I was not just scouting for myself, as two frumpy twenty something ladies that were also casing out the place entered when I came out to give the thumps up.

Since Grumpy and I were both full from our previous meals we just opted to order a beer a piece as we took time to soak in the atmosphere of the bar. I explained that we would not be eating but that would still like to look at the menu. The menu looked very promising offering a full breakfast menu, some sandwiches and of course pizza. One thing caught my eye because it was completely unexpected…..homemade potato chips. So against the protestations of the Grumpy Old Man I placed an order. You can see where the chips fell below.

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These chips were great. Some were very crispy and a few still had some chewiness. All together the best barroom snack for a place like this. While we munched away we began to chat with our server/host to find that her son has owned the restaurant for over 15 years but in the past the place had hidden tunnels and trap doors used to hide and sell moonshine during prohibition. Other things that caught my eye during my exploration of the building were decades of photos of local sports teams – mostly basketball, which is big in Vinton County. I also found an old business license and photo of owners from the late 1940’s. All in all the place has the look and vibe of many of the neighborhood bars in Cleveland so the Grumpy Old Man felt right at home. I continued my discussions with our new friend behind the bar I decided that I needed to order a pizza (to go – even I was beyond full at this point) because she kept talking about how good the pizza was. We also covertly watched what the other people were eating (everything looked good) and heard an older couple struggling over what pie to order. In the process of their deciding we overheard that the pie purveyor Mama Renie’s uses is well-known throughout Vinton County. We did see a few slices of pie and they did indeed look exceptional.

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Eventually, we reluctantly departed Mama Renie’s. The Grumpy Old Man was excited to head home but I told him we were not done yet, we needed to back track to check out the other place that looked good on our drive into McArthur. After quelling a minor mutiny we headed to Main Eatery to pick up a beverage only for the long ride back to Columbus. As we approached the building we noticed the 20 something frumps had followed us (henceforth known as the McArthur girls) and they did declare “we are not following you guys….really”. I know better, my guess is that they had spied the two boxes of Family Donut Shoppe donuts in my Subaru and were looking for an opportunity to steal them. So I gallantly insisted that they order first (so I could keep an eye on them and my donuts). After the McArthur girls ordered their shakes and planted themselves on the patio we started chatting up the woman at the ordering window. She went on at length about all Main Eatery has to offer including over 150 types of shakes, house make corned beef, fresh sauces, etc. Very impressive for a small building that just looks like a typical, generic soft serve ice cream stand. At this point the Grumpy Old Man was beyond distraught, thinking I was going to force another meal on him, he started to make a run for the house next door which had a Safe Place logo sign on the door. Since I was full and had a full pizza and box of donuts in my car, all I ordered as a small cole slaw for the road. We bid the McArthur girls adieu (until our next meeting, they did look like stalkers) and headed back to Columbus via SR 93 and 33.

I am happy to report both the pizza from Mama Renie’s and the cole slaw from Main Eatery were really good and made a fine dinner that evening. The Grumpy Old Man survived this adventure as well and still talks about the Family Donut Shop and the McArthur Girls each week.

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100 W Main St, McArthur, OH 45651
(740) 596-3300

Mama Renie's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Ohio, pies, pizza, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Carl’s Townhouse – Chillicothe

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 24, 2016

Carls

My previous Chillicothe visits included: seeing Tecumseh! the outdoor drama, writing about a restaurant for Ohio Magazine in 1998, visiting two donut spots and picking up the vanity at Lowe’s (the only one in inventory for the whole state). Back when I was a government drone my job often took me to the Chillicothe Veterans Administration Hospital (which has roots going back to World War I) but duty to fix problems and ethical responsibility did not allow me to take side trips to explore the area. I never really explored the city or the downtown. Considering Chillicothe was once a state capital and it is fun to say and more importantly considering all of the other places in the state I have explored on a whim, Chillicothe was overdue for an extended trip.

I’m not sure of the exact series of searches that popped Carl’s onto my laptop screen but it was probably related to doing a search related to Family Donut Shoppe. I’m glad I did pay attention to Carl’s and felt the pull to make this my reason to head south. I enjoyed driving the streets of downtown Chillicothe looking at many 1880’s era buildings and small local shops while searching for Carl’s.

I scouted out Carl’s on various review sites and found almost universal love for the place and in particular their burgers. I lured along one of my research assistants, the grumpy old man, with promises of a trip to Family Donut Shoppe afterwards as well as a recon trip to McArthur Ohio. Within moments of arrival to Carl’s the grumpy old man was also pleased. Carl’s is the kind of diner that every community needs. A simple place with straightforward food where regulars come to catch up with each other as well as the events of the day. More diners could help Make America great again.

Having a research assistant allowed me to do extensive food research. I’ll start with the hamburgers. The trademark menu item here are slider style hamburgers. The burgers were much bigger and thicker than a White Castle slider. Students of hamburger history (such as myself) would recognize this as the typical burger of the 1940’s – 1960’s. Neither too big nor too small with a lumpy instead of perfectly formed patty and when paired with fries, a very satisfying meal. The burgers are great and I highly suggest them. I ordered the double cheeseburger basket (two double cheeseburgers and fries).

Double cheeseburger basket

As a student of hot dog history as well as a staunch hot dog advocate, I ordered a chili dog to boot. I was pleased with the presentation here. The bun was lightly grilled, the hot dog was split in the middle to aid grilling as well as chili retention. The chili was definitely homemade with a distinct flavor to it. Overall it was better than average.

chili dog

The grumpy old man ordered the pork tenderloin sandwich. I was happy to see this on the menu. Many years ago I did extensive research on regional sandwiches around the USA for a book project. I spent a week traveling around the Midwest trying out the best pork tenderloin sandwiches in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois which is the heartland of this regional delicacy. I found this version true to style. It was properly breaded and sufficiently – as is the tradition – much bigger than the bun it was served on. More points for Carl’s.

tenderloin sandwich

My favorite item of the lot was also my biggest surprise. I saw apple strudel written on the specials board and ordered that out of curiosity. It turned out to be Apple Strudel Pie! Even the grumpy old man, with his girl-like appetite, found room to take a bite and found it pleasing to the palate as well.

apple strudel pie

One of the things that makes Carl’s a destination is the character of the place which comes from a long history in the community. When I work with clients, I often share with them how important sharing the history of a business is to customer loyalty. Carl’s does a great job in this category by sharing their history on the menu. As a local landmark, this is important, so I photographed that history to share with you below.

part 1

part 2

To wrap it all up. Carl’s is an iconic diner that dishes out breakfast, lunch, dinner and an extensive list of daily specials at affordable prices. If you find yourself in Chillicothe, this is well worth a visit. If you have a few extra minutes walk across the street to the antique shop and see if this trinket is still around. Even though it was $375 I was very tempted to take it home with me. If you are not familiar with the gentleman below, it is J. Wellington Wimpy. A personal hero of mine with an even greater affinity for hamburgers, he is best known for his insightful philosophy, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” If you fetch Wimpy for me today, I’ll gladly pay you back with a burger on Tuesday.

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Carl's Town House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Diners, hamburgers, hot dogs, Ohio, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Ohio Donut Trail: Penny’s Pastries, Logan

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 21, 2016

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Buried deep inside of the Ohio Revised Code, I have a hunch that there is some type of mandate on requirements for small Ohio towns. If I was to guess, it may read something like this, any county seat as well towns numbering over 1500 citizens or greater should ensure the following are located near the city center: Statue honoring a civil war hero, a small park with benches, a traffic circle or small area of one way streets and a bakery. Penny’s Pastries ensures that Logan Ohio meets those standards.

Penny’s is a small, homey, full service bakery that offers a small number of donuts each day. While not the mainstay of the business, donuts are an important enough feature to warrant displaying them in the front window (so customers can see if any are left) and prominent placement of the production schedule at the front door. In addition to donuts they offer cakes, muffins, cookies, etc. Donuts typically sell out quickly so it is suggest you arrive as close to the 6 am opening time as possible to get the best selection. Although I have not tried one, the peanut butter creme filled donuts appears to be their biggest crowd pleaser.

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Penny’s Pastries Bakery
Address: 81 E Main St, Logan, OH 43138
Phone:(740) 385-5190

Posted in donuts, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Archives: BNA Gourmand, RoadFood Tour with Jane and Michael Stern

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 19, 2016

These events occurred on April 28th, 2007 mostly as recorded. 

In league with Philville Phil, president of the the Columbus Men’s Supper Gang, I journeyed to Nashville, TN to do a dining tour with Jan and Michael Stern of Roadfood.com, Gourmet Magazine and countless books. It was a treat. Along with a busload of 50 foodies, the Sterns, the Roadfood web team, and a German documentary film crew we hit four places and discussed many others.

There was also a group that hit four places in the morning (and a few of them did the afternoon tour with us as well). Below is a description of the morning tour.

“The morning tour will start at 8am at the Loveless Cafe for a classic Tennessee breakfast, including legendary biscuits and homemade preserves. We will then hop in the bus and head into the country towards Franklin and a visit to Merridees Bread Basket for delicious pastries, breads and pimiento cheese sandwiches. Next stop: Pucket’s Grocery, an old-time meat-and-three and barbecue cafe with some of the most succulent pulled pork anywhere. We then return to Nashville for lunch at the ultra-bountiful Belle Meade Cafeteria“.

The rendevous and collection point for the afternoon group was at the Loveless Cafe. This place is famous for food and country music, several up and coming stars have played here on the way to fame. We had a small snack at the country store in the parking lot since the wait time to dine was over an hour.

Documentary Crew

We were trailed by a German TV documentary film crew throughout our trip. I believe I was quoted a couple times, I hope that made it on the cutting room floor (I, like the Amish and some Native Americans do not like to be photographed).

Prince's Hot Chicken

Prince’s Hot Chicken was our first stop. We overwhelmed the small, strip mall establishment with 50 or more people. This is fried chicken dipped in hot sauce or hot, hot, hot sauce. This type of chicken is unique to a small section on Nashville. We ordered the medium – which was very hot even after dabbing with a piece of white bread. Our companions that ordered the hot – were hard pressed to eat much of the chicken due to the heat level. But with a lot of pop and dabbing with some white bread – we got the hot heat down to aid consumption. I do not know how much the employees get paid – I think they may work for free just to watch people suffer from the hot and very hot sauces. However, the hot sauce opened up more digestive “living space” for a lot more food to come.

Hot Chicken

Here is another version of the trip from the Dallas News, including a quote from the Gourmand….

“Jim Ellison, of Columbus, Ohio, tells me I should think of this tour as a marathon. Toward the end, he promises, I would get a second wind. Jim, who runs an ice cream blog, speaks from experience. I remember his advice as we walk up to Swett’s, a spotless meat-and-three, soul-food cafeteria.”

Swetts

We then hit Swett’s, a Meat and three (or two or four) buffet. This was distinctly average food in a typical strip mall with cafeteria style ambiance. The place is typical of the meat and three buffet. Multiple second and third tier celebrities plaster the wall with accolades for the place – so I think the stop was appropriate for the trip. Also – where else can you feed a busload of 50+ people?

Monell's

We saved the best for last! Monell’s is old school, family style dining in a beautiful home in the Germantown section of Nashville. Everything was great and it was amazing that we could eat at all at that point – but we did – including some wonderful desserts. I was able to sit next to Michael Stern and the Roadfood web team and talk food and food writing for the meal (so of course I plugged Columbus for an Ice Cream tour and more). We all shared nicely, passed plates and spent the evening like it was a Thanksgiving supper with family. The staff were wonderful as well. If you go – reservations are critical!

All of the above are shots from Monell’s

On the way home that night, with no agenda in sight – we decided some ice cream was in order to sooth our bloated bellies. We called Philville Phil’s wife Jean, who was kind enough to do some quick internet research and guide us to Bobbie’s Dairy Whip – voted as Nashville’s favorite ice cream shop. We got some twist cones and fries and called it a night.

On the way home the next morning, we made a side trip to Louisville so I could introduce Phil to

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe.

Here is a shot of the breakfast menu – these items were featured on The Food Network with Bobby Flay – Kentucky Farmhouse Scramble (everything but the sink) and Bourbon Ball French Toast. Phil had the Louisville Hot Brown – the signature sandwich of the town. My favorite was the Derby Pie Milkshake. The people sitting next to us at the bar had some wonderful homefries that I was eyeing the whole time. When they left – barely touching their food, Phil dared me to sample the homefries….. All I can say they were the best I have ever had and our server respected my gumption and dedication to recycling.

This is a Louisville Hot Brown – Philville Phil’s favorite new sandwich.

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Archives: WI Gourmand

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 19, 2016

In August (2006) I journeyed to Wisconsin. On the way, with a tip from Road Food, I stopped in West Layfayette, IN (Perdue University) to eat at the Triple XXX Restaurant. The place is a university landmark. It is named for a root beer company that is basically gone now. They still serve Triple XXX root beer and a hamburger with peanut butter on it. Yep – peanut butter. The food was average and I pressed on.

Next stop was Madison, WI (well, after a Tornado Warning, check engine warning light, and 100’s of miles). I sampled several New Glarus Beers – including the popular Spotted Cow and Fat Squirrel. New Glarus is a small town southwest of Madison. The New Glarus beer has won many awards but their desire to maintain the quality of their beer and lower production keeps it mostly in Wisconsin. My Madison hosts, the Parrantos, were big fans and so was I after a few. I was even prompted to liberate a New Glarus pint glass from a local watering hole. My other Madison food adventures included Babcock Hall for a taste of the famous ice cream the University of Wisconsin churns out – it was good. I also took a quick tour the production facility. I had kosher old fashioned donuts hot out of the oven from Greenbush Bakery – SO YUMMY. The Great Dane Brewing Company (123 E. Doty St.) was a great dinner destination for a bison burger, African stew, and a taste of brats. And afterwards, I sadly had to smell, but not eat the great Ethioipan food from Baraka (State St.) near the UW campus. My only disappointment was Ella’s Deli – a well known spot in Madison, famous for ice cream and it’s eclectic decor. The place is very kid friendly with all types of trinkets, gadets, and knick knacks to keep grandparents and kids entertained – but the food was distinctly average and more than moderately priced.

In Mt Horeb, Wisconsin, I visited the Mustard Museum

Mustard Museum

– Mustard Museum –

The Mustard Museum has over 4000 mustards on display and about 500 available for sale, including 3 that are made by the museum. In addition to plenty of free samples, there are interesting posters, momentos, and displays about the history of mustard, mustard pop culture as well as many mustard related items that one would never imagine. The place is well worth the visit.

Museum

I met the CMO (Chief Mustard Officer) Barry Levenson . I really enjoyed speaking with him. The seed for the Mustard Museum was planted when the Red Sox lost the World Series in the 80’s. As he wandered around in despair, he decided he needed something to do as a hobby and picked up a new mustard in a store – then the collection started to grow. Barry is also a lawyer and he has written a very good book about Food and the Law called Habeas Codfish, which he was nice enough to sign for me. Mt. Horeb also has a great bike trail, a good brew pub and also happens to be the troll capital of the world. There are carved wooden trolls everywhere.

However, the reason for my Wisconsin adventure was farther north in the little town of Princeton. I went to the Burning Down the Fox BBQ Championship where I was doing my first gig as a Kansas City BBQ Society certifed BBQ judge. It was great fun and a very good festival. I stayed the night at the Ellison Gray Lion Inn (no relation – but they offered to adopt me) where I had great company and really good Strawberry French Toast.

And I forgot my whirlwind Custard tour of the Milwaukee surburbs with Shannon Jackson Arnold – Churnologist for Breyer’s Ice Cream and my writing good fairy. In about one hour we hit Le Ducs in Wales, WI, Divino Gelato Cafe (excellent gelato and very nice owner) in Waukesha, Oscars – near Waukesha, and Kopps Frozen Custard. Many feel Kopps is the best in Wisconsin – so far I agree. I did not have enough room in my belly to go the Michaels Custard in Madison, but by report – they are in the top five as well.

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Archives: MEL Gourmand

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 19, 2016

There is a special place in my soul for OZ even though I was there there 6 times from 1989 to 2008 for a total of 4 1/2 months. Australia is my second home. Unfortunately they didn’t need any food writers or government bureaucrats (I tried and finally gave up). I’ve been to every state, territory and major city by foot, horse, train, bus, car and plane with the only area untouched the coastal strip from Darwin to Broome.

These are a few of my favorite things.

The Yarra Valley

One of the great wine producing regions in the world. This is an incredible way to spend a day or two with good friends – tour more than one dozen wineries in the area – sampling all day long. My favorite wine of them all is –

Fortified Shiraz

Yering Station Fortified Shiraz

19.8% Alcohol

Yering.com

Another favorite winery was –

Green Point

Maroondah HWY
Coldstrem 3770 Vic

61 3 9739 1110

Open 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM

But there is much more to do in the area –

The Yarra Valley Dairy offers hand-made cheeses and rich homemade organic ice cream as well as coffee, desserts and excellent views. It is located on McMeikans Rd. at Yering and is open from 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. every day except Friday and Saturday when it is open to 10.00 p.m.

tel: (03) 9739 0023.

Yarra Valley Dairy website

Also not so far away…..
Pig & Whistle Tavern
At Bayview Estate
365 Purves Road
MAIN RIDGE, 3928

(03) 5989-6130

Pig & Whistle Tavern

Pig and Whistle

 

A perfect pub, in the perfect place with great pub grub, fine service, and a winery in the back staffed by an owner that graduated from the University of Michigan. Plus some B & B rooms if you want to stick around.

signs

Another ign

Portsea, (Victoria)

The Grand Hotel is a landmark on the Mornington Peninsula. Built over 100 years ago, The Grand Hotel has a great restaurant, a fine bar, and pefect seaside view.

Grand Hotel web site

Melbourne

 

Mihn Mihn (Vietnamese Cuisine)
94 Victoria St.
Richmond

(03) 9427 7891
Mutiny at the Mihn Mihn

In a nut shell – we refused to leave our table. In spite of a reservation – the owner wanted us in and out within 20 minutes. However we had 3 bottles of wine to drink. Our party consisted of the Gourmand, Ms. Mandy Culph (famous Dingley chick and supermodel), Dan Brindle (King of the Southern hemisphere ) and Katie Murray (my favorite Brit). We refused to accept the rushed service and revolted. In a series frantic of trips, every 1-2 minutes various staff came begging for us to eat faster. They lived in fear of the restaurant owner. When they graciously offered to let us finish our meal in the kitchen after saying they did not serve dessert – we declined. When they tried to sit diners at our table – while we were still eating the main course – we declined. Then the dragon lady owner came – (her famous quote “you are rich, I am poor”), we would not leave. When we did leave, after allowing ourselves about 37 minutes to eat a good meal and drink three bottles of wine while debating the merits of civil disobedience vs. open violence about this situation, the entire restaurant clapped for us because we held our ground (one of the most memorable experiences of my life). We forced the scared bus boy to take a generous tip and told him not to let the owner steal it from him. The food was great – we can never go back. Oh by the way, we were not drunk, that happened about 12 minutes and 1 cab ride later.

Bihn Mihn
40 Victoria St
Richmond 3121 VIC
(03) 9421 3802

Even better Vietnamese food, great service and in spite of two drunken Aussie gals and a brit chick singing karaoke without a machine or music – we were not asked to leave. (I was well behaved.)

Queen Victoria Market
513 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne, 3000

61 3 9320 5822
This giant vendors market has it all: butchers, fishmongers, vegetables galore fruits, wine shops, incredible cheeses, aromatherapy, arts, crafts, bargain clothing and hucksters. There are also regular lectures by leading chefs, market tours, music and more. Built in 1878, the Market consists of several historic buildings which are visited by over 100,000 shoppers each week.

Handorf’s Fine Chocolates

884 Glenhuntly Road

Caulfield South

03 9525 6639

(Many locations – well executed Bavarian Chocolates)

And the Melbourne Cup! A week of tradition, horseracing, hats, heat, and more. I was there for the Makybe Diva win in 2005 and bet on her to win – which meant I won enough money to pay for a very nice dinner the next day.

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Ohio Donut Trail: Family Donut Shoppe

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 15, 2016

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There is one objective truth on the Ohio Donut Trail, just when you think you have everything covered (south of 70) a new spot appears unexpectedly. This one was scouted via social media. A key observation by the social media poster – a 24 hour donut shop!, caught my eye. As did the location, Londonderry, Ohio. I have traveled nearly all of Ohio but it turns out Londonderry is on a section of S.R. 50 I had never traversed. Doing some research, this spot is about 15 minutes east (ish) of Chillicothe. Doing more research, it seems than Londonderry is only about 50 minutes from Athens, which of course means O’Betty’s so in my odd travel logic – how about a day devoted to donuts and hot dogs. This oddly shaped travel triangle makes for a spiffy afternoon drive. It turned out to be a pretty good day for donuting to boot.

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Regular devotees to the Ohio Donut trail (not to be confused with another Ohio Donut trail which is newer and just covers a small portion of the state and might be construed as an upstart donut trail) will be pleased to know that Family Donut shop is easily in the top 6 best Ohio Donuteries encountered to date.

I knew pulling into the lot that I would love the place. It looked wholesome. The counter staff were friendly and the offerings were extensive. In addition to donuts (mostly of the cake variety but fritters, Long John’s and fancy donuts too) the place serves good coffee, hot dogs, a smoked sausage sandwich, ice cream, milkshakes and a few other things. There is a counter with a few stools and a scattering of tables as well as a 24 hour drive through window. This ensures that if one needs to rest from the drive there are ample options for sustenance and support.

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A dozen plus donuts of all varieties were purchased and sampled over the next nine hours. The apple fritter was exceptional. The stick donut was the best I have ever consumed anywhere. The other donuts were all fresh, of good quality, light, fluffy and satisfying. After returning home and taking some donuts with him, my tasting associate texted me within minutes “The plain cake donut may be the best I have ever had!”

Additional trips will be made to Family Donut Shop to continue this important research. On the way to Athens I discovered McArthur Ohio which also warrants more investigation so the two Route 50 towns may be linked together in a future post.

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Stay tuned for the continuing adventures on the original and best Ohio Donut Tail.

Family Donut Shop
35633 US-50, Londonderry, OH 45647
(740) 887-2120

Family Donut Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in donuts, ice cream, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »